From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Josephus, also known as Flavius Josephus (abt. AD 37 - abt. AD 100) was a 1st century Jewish historian of priestly ancestry who survived the Destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and settled in Rome. He was originally known as Yosef Ben-Matityahu (Matthias in Greek).
Josephus wrote an account of the war addressed to the Jewish community in Mesopotamia in Aramaic language. He then wrote a history in Greek covering a broader period - from the Maccabees to the fall of Jerusalem. This book, the Jewish War, appeared by 79. The majority of the book is based on the events of his own life, including those of his own administrative experience.
The Jewish Antiquities, (written in c. 94) in Greek) is a history of the Jews from the Creation to the outbreak of the war in the late 60s. There is an autobiographical appendix defending Josephus' own conduct at the end of the war when he cooperated with the Roman forces of Vespasian and Titus Flavius.
Josephus' Against Apion is a defense of Judaism as classical religion and philosophy, stressing its antiquity against what Josephus pointed out was the relatively more recent traditions of the Greeks. Some anti-Semitic allegations by Apion, and myths as old as Manetho's are exposed there as well.
The Jews have mixed feelings regarding Josephus. He was unquestionably an important apologist for the Jewish religion, particularly at a time of major upheaval, while his history of the Great Jewish Revolt, though sometimes questionable or self-serving, is an important source of information for the events of that time. Nevertheless, his personal conduct during the war is a point of contention because he abandoned his position as a rebel leader and joined the Roman camp. he had been granted citizenship and a pension in Rome and was well accepted at the courts of Vespasian, Titus and Domitian, therefore his work is likely to be biased in favor of his imperial patrons, especially Titus. Later in life he returned to his Jewish roots.